Chelsea Manning Announces that She Will Run For Maryland Senate Seat

Via a reader tip comes news that Chelsea Manning is going to run for the US Senate in Maryland:

Chelsea Manning

Chelsea Manning, the former Army intelligence analyst convicted of leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks, confirmed Sunday that she’s running in Maryland for a Senate seat.

“Yup, we’re running for Senate,” Manning tweeted three days after she filed her statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission.

The tweet also included a campaign video indicating her intention to run in the 2018 Maryland Democratic primary and was followed by a tweet seeking donations to her campaign.

She is running for the seat held by two-term Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin.  [Fox News]

I have a hard time believing the Democrats would allow a traitor and convicted felon like Manning to get elected to the Senate.  Manning is basically a Cindy Sheehan like figure who thinks she is more important than what she really is.  When Sheehan ran for Congress she was crushed by the Democrats, I expect the same thing will happen to Manning considering she has already used up her political usefulness.

Senator Graham Wants the Pentagon to Remove US Military Dependents from South Korea

I am not sure if the Pentagon is ready to sign up for this yet because removing US military dependents even gradually from South Korea would cause huge concern in South Korea:

Senator Lindsey Graham

Sen. Lindsey Graham said Sunday that he believes it’s time to start moving the families of American military personnel out of South Korea as North Korea pushes the U.S. closer to a military conflict.

Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he will also urge the Pentagon not to send any more dependents to South Korea.

“It’s crazy to send spouses and children to South Korea, given the provocation of North Korea. South Korea should be an unaccompanied tour,” the South Carolina Republican said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” ”So, I want them to stop sending dependents, and I think it’s now time to start moving American dependents out of South Korea.”  [Stars & Stripes via a reader tip]

You can read the rest at the link, but I think the South Korean government would be highly concerned if dependents are removed because it could be taken as a sign that the US is preparing for military action even if that is not the case.  Additionally will foreign investors keep their money invested in South Korea if they feel a potentially destructive war appears to be coming with the US removing dependents?  This is why I think the Pentagon will be very careful about if and when they remove dependents from South Korea.

Madeleine Albright Critical of President Trump’s Comment About South Korean Golf Champion

Madeleine Albright is the latest person to be critical of President Trump’s praising of South Korean golfer Sung-hyun Park who won the US Women’s Open at the President’s golf club in New Jersey:

Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright called out President Donald Trump Wednesday for promoting one of his golf courses during a speech before South Korea’s legislature.

While praising South Korea’s achievements, Trump told the National Assembly Wednesday (local time) that Korean golfers are “some of the best on Earth.”

“In fact, and you know what I’m going to say, the Women’s U.S. Open was held this year at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, and it just happened to be won by a great Korean golfer,” he said, referring to Park Sung-hyun.

Asked to comment on MSNBC, Albright said, “What a waste. Maybe he should have stuck with the business he was in before.”  [Yonhap]

What I think is a waste is all the aid the Clinton administration that she served in sent to the Kim regime that ultimately assisted with them building nuclear weapons and ICBMs.

Anyway I look at the President’s comment as something he said to try and relate to the audience that he was speaking to.  Only people looking for anything to criticize the President would take his comment to mean he was promoting his golf club.

Democratic Congressmen Want Pentagon to Predict How Many People Would Die In Ground Invasion of North Korea

Maybe I missed it, but I don’t remember any lawmakers asking questions about how many casualties there would be in Libya and Syria before the Obama administration promoted conflicts in those two countries:

The only way to locate and destroy with complete certainty all components of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program is through a ground invasion. That blunt assessment from the Pentagon is in response to a letter from two Democratic congressmen asking about casualty assessments in a conflict with North Korea.

Rear Adm. Michael J. Dumont of the Joint Staff offered the assessment in response to a letter from Reps. Ted Lieu of California and Ruben Gallego of Arizona.

Dumont noted that the U.S. is evaluating North Korea’s ability to target heavily populated areas of South Korea with long-range artillery, rockets and ballistic missiles. He also pointed out that Seoul, the South’s capital with a population of 25 million, is just 35 miles from the demilitarized zone. The amount of casualties would differ depending on the advance warning and the ability of U.S. and South Korea forces to counter these attacks, he said.

“A classified briefing would be the best place to discuss in detail the capability of the U.S. and its allies to discuss capabilities to counter North Korea’s ability to respond with a nuclear weapon and eliminate North Korea’s nuclear weapons located in deeply buried, underground facilities,” he said. He also mentioned the possibility that chemical and biological weapons might be used by the North in case of a conflict.

Military officials would be happy to join “the intelligence community to address these issues in a classified briefing,” he said.

In a joint statement issued Saturday, 15 Democratic lawmakers and one Republican— all military veterans — called the assessment that a ground invasion would be required to destroy the North’s nuclear arsenal “deeply disturbing” and that such an action “could result in hundreds of thousands, or even millions of deaths in just the first few days of fighting.”

“It is our intent to have a full public accounting of the potential cost of war, so the American people understand the commitment we would be making as a nation if we were to pursue military action,” the lawmakers said.

They also said the Trump administration “has failed to articulate any plans to prevent the military conflict from expanding beyond the Korean Peninsula and to manage what happens after the conflict is over.”

“With that in mind, the thought of sending troops into harm’s way and expending resources on another potentially unwinnable war is chilling. The President needs to stop making provocative statements that hinder diplomatic options and put American troops further at risk,” they said.  [Associated Press]

I think the assessment that needs to be made is not a ground invasion, but what would happen in the aftermath of a limited bombing strike on their strategic facilities?  Would the Kim regime respond with a ground war that would lead to regime change and them getting the Muammar Gaddafi treatment?

Senator Corker Bashes President Trump Over His North Korea Policy

Here is the latest criticism from Senator Corker against President Trump:

This AP file photo shows Sen. Bob Corker. (Yonhap)

A U.S. Republican senator called out President Donald Trump again on Sunday, saying the commander-in-chief is hampering diplomatic efforts to resolve the nuclear crisis with North Korea.

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), who has recently been involved in a personal feud with Trump, reiterated his argument as the president prepares for his first official visit to Asia later this week.

“When our secretary of state is sitting down with a partner that matters most — China — trying to negotiate something that would resolve and keep us from going into military conflict with North Korea, which brings in South Korea, Japan, China, and Russia, and he’s knee-capped by the president, it hurts our nation. It hurts our efforts,” the senator told CBS.

“It leads us more fully towards the conflict that most of us would like to see resolved in another way. The tweets that are sent out mocking a leader of another country raises tensions in the region,” he added, referring to Trump’s references to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as “Little Rocket Man.”  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link, but I think President Trump is just trying to change the dynamic that has been missing from past diplomatic efforts that the threat of a military strike this time is very real.  Does anyone think the robust UN sanctions and so far China’s efforts to implement them would have happened if there wasn’t a real concern that President Trump was serious about a military strike?

White House Chief of Staff Makes Powerful Comments About Condolence Call Controversy

If you watch anything today, watch what retired General and White House Chief of Staff said at a press conference yesterday.  No matter what you think of this whole condolence call controversy this is pretty powerful stuff.  Here is an excerpt:

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.

Invoking the death of his son, a Marine, in Afghanistan, White House chief of staff John Kelly delivered an impassioned defense on Thursday of President Trump’s outreach to families of four Americans recently killed in Niger. Kelly also denounced Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., as “selfish” for criticizing Trump for his message to one soldier’s widow.

“I appeal to America: Let’s not let this, maybe, last thing that’s held sacred in our society: a young man, young woman going out and giving his or her life for our country. Let’s try to somehow keep that sacred,” Kelly said in an unusual appearance in the White House briefing room. “It eroded a great deal yesterday by the selfish behavior of a member of Congress.”

Wilson had said that Trump callously told Myeshia Johnson — whose husband Army Sgt. La David Johnson was killed in an Oct. 4 patrol in Niger — that her husband “knew what he signed up for.” The congresswoman, a Johnson family friend, reportedly overheard parts of the conversation while riding in the same car as the widow. Trump flatly denied that account on Twitter Wednesday and said he had “proof.” The soldier’s mother, Cowanda Jones-Johnson, reportedly said that the president had “disrespected” her family.

But Kelly, a retired Marine general, broadly confirmed Wilson’s account — while explaining that Trump had drawn inspiration from what the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joseph Dunford, told him when Robert Kelly was killed after stepping on a landmine while on patrol in Afghanistan in 2010.

“He said ‘Kell, he was doing exactly what he wanted to do when he was killed. He knew what he was getting into, by joining the Marines — that 1 percent — he knew what the possibilities were, because we’re at war,” Kelly said. “‘When he died, he was surrounded by the best men on this Earth, his friends.’

“That’s what the president tried to say to four families the other day,” Kelly said. “I was stunned when I came to work yesterday morning, and brokenhearted, at what I saw a member of Congress doing. A member of Congress who listened in on a phone call from the president of the United States to a young wife, and, in his way, tried to express that opinion — he was a brave man, a fallen hero. He knew what he was getting himself into, because he enlisted — there was no reason to enlist, he enlisted. And he was where he wanted to be, exactly where he wanted to be, exactly the people he wanted to be with, when his life was taken. That was the message.”  [Yahoo News]

You can read more and watch the video at the link.  General Kelly definitely provides the needed context of what the President had tried to say.  The President probably should have took General Kelly’s advice and not made the call considering the difficulty he can sometimes have articulating what he means.  But like General Kelly I was surprised that a member of Congress after something like this happens, the first thing they think of is to find a camera to run in front of to score political points.  Then the media deciding to run with it like they have is just as bad.  Our political and media culture have definitely hit a new low.

Democratic Congress Members Call for Negotiations with North Korea

It is amazing to me that people continue to think that Pyongyang will negotiate away their nuclear weapons without the viable threat of military action against them.  They might as well as advocate for North Korea having nuclear weapons because that is what over two decades of negotiations has led to:

A group of 64 U.S. Democratic lawmakers warned President Donald Trump in a letter Tuesday that he would need congressional approval for any pre-emptive strike on North Korea and encouraged “direct” engagement with the isolationist regime.

“Few decisions are more needing of debate than a move to launch attacks, or declare war, on a nuclear-armed state such as North Korea,” stated the letter addressed to Trump. It went onto warn that an “inconsistent or unpredictable policy runs the risk of unimaginable conflict” with such a volatile country as North Korea.

The letter was signed by a group of congressmen in the House of Representatives led by Reps. John Conyers of Michigan, Barbara Lee of California and Jim McGovern of Massachusetts.

The lawmakers called for more information about what steps the administration is taking “to advance the prospects for direct negotiations that could lower the potential for catastrophic war and ultimately lead to the denuclearization of the peninsula.”

They continued, “In the event that your plans do include an ill-advised military component, we stand ready to exercise our constitutional duty to approve, or reject, any such military action.”

This comes amid concerns in Congress over the Trump administration’s erratic policy toward the North, as the U.S. president has declared “all option are on the table,” leaving a door open to military action including a pre-emptive strike. Trump has also said that he is open to talks with the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un under the right conditions.

The congressmen underscored that while the U.S. Constitution and the War Powers Resolution of 1973 provide the president the authority to act in cases of emergencies, “both require an affirmative authorization from Congress before our nation engages in military action abroad against a state that has not attacked the U.S. or our assets abroad.”

The letter stressed the past three U.S. administrations under presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton ruled out the possibility of military action against Pyongyang and “ultimately determined there was no military option that would not run the unacceptable risk of counter-reaction from Pyongyang.”

Such retaliation from the North, it pointed out, could endanger as many as a third of the South Korean population, nearly 30,000 U.S. troops in the region as well as over 100,000 U.S. citizens living in Korea.

The congressmen encouraged Trump to adhere to a diplomatic approach, expressing support for U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s recent statement that his preferred method for resolution is “direct talks with North Korea,” persuading the North that they do not need nuclear weapons to secure the existence of the regime. They also backed Tillerson’s remarks reassuring Pyongyang that Washington did not seek a regime change in the North or its collapse.

“President Trump’s irresponsible statements on North Korea endanger our troops, our regional allies such as South Korea and Japan, and global security more broadly,” said Conyers, dean of the House of Representatives and one of two remaining Korean War veterans serving in the U.S. Congress, in a press release. “As someone who has watched this conflict evolve since I was sent to Korea as a young Army lieutenant, it is a reckless, inexperienced move to threaten military action that could end in devastation instead of pursuing vigorous diplomacy.”  [Joong Ang Ilbo]

You can read more at the link.

Media Report Claims President Trump “Screamed” at National Security Advisor Over THAAD in Korea Comments

It looks like the honeymoon for Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster is over if the media is to be believed:

McMaster’s allies and adversaries inside the White House tell me that Trump is disillusioned with him. This professional military officer has failed to read the president  — by not giving him a chance to ask questions during briefings, at times even lecturing Trump.

Presented with the evidence of this buyer’s remorse, the White House on Sunday evening issued a statement from Trump: “I couldn’t be happier with H.R. He’s doing a terrific job.”

Other White House officials however tell me this is not the sentiment the president has expressed recently in private. Trump was livid, according to three White House officials, after reading in the Wall Street Journal that McMaster had called his South Korean counterpart to assure him that the president’s threat to make that country pay for a new missile defense system was not official policy. These officials say Trump screamed at McMaster on a phone call, accusing him of undercutting efforts to get South Korea to pay its fair share.  [Bloomberg]

You can read more at the link, but who knows what the real story is when this is all sourced from anonymous leaks from officials in the White House probably eager to undercut General McMaster’s influence with President Trump.